Momentum Podcast: 872
Millionaire By 23: How Lauren Tickner Turned Chaos into Clarity
by Alex Charfen
Today is an incredibly exciting episode of the Momentum Podcast. We are joined by friend, client, and entrepreneurial wonder, Lauren Tickner. She is an extraordinary entrepreneur. She runs a company called Impact School that helps people make a massive impact through increasing their audience on social media and turning it into a true lead generation powerhouse for businesses.
Here's what makes Lauren so incredible: She is part of the new, incredibly evolved group of entrepreneurs that have landed on this planet that have chosen to join us here, that are capable of doing more and affecting more and putting more out there and making a massive contribution in the world. In the past year, I've gotten to know her better and to understand her business and understand what she actually does and how she helps people. The processing capacity that she has to understand where she is, what she needs and what she needs to do to get to where she's going is incredible. It has humbled, impressed, and inspired me in the time that I've known her, and we hope it does the same for you.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
Today is an incredibly exciting episode of the Momentum Podcast because I have my friend and client Lauren Tickner here, and to give you a brief introduction about Lauren. She is an extraordinary entrepreneur. She runs a company called Impact School that helps people make a bigger impact. And I'll let her explain the details. But here's what I want you to know about her. She is part of the new, incredibly evolved group of entrepreneurs that have landed on this planet that have chosen to join us here, that are capable of doing more and affecting more and putting more out there and making a massive contribution in the world. And in the past year, I've gotten to know her better and to understand her business and understand what she actually does and how she helps people. But here's what I want you to listen to and hear and understand is the extraordinary processing capacity that she has to understand where she is, what she needs and what she needs to do to get to where she's going. It has humbled and impressed me and inspired me in the time that I've known her. And I think it's going to do the same for you. So with that, I'd love to introduce Lauren.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
Lauren, thanks so much for being here today.
Lauren: Yeah, thanks for having me. Well, after listening to every single episode of this show, it feels like an absolute honor. Maybe like a pinch me moment. This is pretty cool.
Alex: Thank you so much. So, Lauren, can you just for everybody to have context–If it's okay–I'd love for you to share how long you've been an entrepreneur, how old you are, and what type of business you run. And I know it's so rude to ask a woman her age, but I know that you openly share it. So it's not like a taboo subject with you. You're really proud of it, and I think you should be.
Lauren: Yes. Right now, as of the time of filming this, I'm 26. I kind of became an entrepreneur when I was 16. It wasn't really anything planned. I had an Instagram fitness account and the way that I realized I could actually make money from doing this was I got this company they emailed me. And what did they DM me? They DMed me on Instagram or emailed me and they said, “Hey, we want to send you some protein bars and we'll pay you £300 if you post the photo on Instagram”. I was like, free protein bars? They're going to give me more money than it would take me if… they're going to give me more money than if I was working for literally hours in the pub. So I was washing dishes at the time, right? In the freezing cold, like it was so cold. No heating in this English pub in the middle of it. It was always raining. It was terrible. And so from there I realized, well, I don't need to go and work a job anymore. I can just go and do this and I can post on Instagram and make money from it. So I did that for a couple of years and then slowly but surely built my audience back in the fitness industry. And people were asking me for coaching, but I just thought, well, there's not really any money in this. I need to go into corporate because I always wanted to be really successful. I don't know what it was that ever since I was a kid I had this vision of my life in the future where I was going to have mansions and like tons of really, really, really big houses and lake houses in different other countries, holiday homes. And I'd seen that from some of the parents of the friends of mine. And so that was my goal. And so I then went and got that corporate job and it wasn't really what it was called out to be. And I decided I am literally unemployable. Like there is no way I can have a job. I need to figure out my own thing. But I didn't know what to do because I googled how to start a business. But there was nothing. There was no real information back then. So I tried a few different things like dropshipping and e-commerce. I lost a ton of money and that's how I got into the world of online fitness coaching, which for me was incredible. And I was able to change the lives of so many people and that's how I really got started in the online space. But I make it sound like such a short period of time. This is happening between the ages of 18 to 22. I was so turbulent all over the place, I had no idea what I was doing.
Alex: Yeah, no doubt. And I'm glad that you give context because I think so often stories are shared where it's like, ‘Oh, that took a month or two, so it should take me a month to do’. But it's years, years.
Lauren: Years of, like, real stress though, because like when I quit my job in asset management, my dad and he would, you know, kind of laugh about this now. But he said to me, like, because I was living at his house, because I was 18, he was like, “Well, Lauren, if you want to go and do your own thing, go back into the real world and go live by yourself.”
Alex: Hmm. Yeah.
Lauren: He, yeah, it was pretty intense.
Alex: I always tell people, if you have an idea that you want to make sure you never execute, tell your family. And it's not because they don't believe in you, it's not because they don't support you. Most of the time. Oftentimes it's because they can't see themselves being able to do it.
Lauren: And they're scared.
Alex: And they're scared. They're scared for you. So, Lauren. How long have you been running Impact School?
Lauren: Impact School formally has been for three or four years, but it was the name of my podcast before I had it as the name of the company. So I was on the call one day with a girl that was working for me at the time, a sales rep, and we had just had a ton of different courses. Like it was a really confusing business. I had one specifically for online fitness coaches. I had a legion agency for bigger influencers who were running there, like DMS and automation and stuff. And then I had these other things. It was crazy. And so I was like, We just need to get rid of everything. Focus on this one thing that's bringing in 80% of our revenue and get rid of everything else and what should we call the company? And she was like, “Well, the podcast name Impact School is kind of cool. Why don't we call it that? And it has brand recognition already.” So yeah, we just settled on that and that was just about a year before the lockdowns happened. And then obviously everyone wanted to take their business online then. And what we do is help people sell knowledge and expertise online, specifically not in-person at all. And so we got a ton of clients then and everything just exploded. And that's really where things became serious for this company.
Alex: So I want to talk a little bit just about, because it's the Momentum podcast, because we're talking about process, structure and routine. I want to talk a little bit about us working together and what has that done for your business and what it's done for you as a visionary. So how long have you and I've been working together? I know you followed the podcast for a while, so how long were you following the podcast and then how long have we actually been working together? Do you know?
Lauren: I literally feel like we've been working together for longer than we have because we executed everything really quickly. I think it's only I think it's been six months.
Alec: Maybe six or…
Lauren: It... I came to an. No, not even six months. I think it's been five, four or five months because we came to an event like one month after we started with you, and that was only three months ago. So it must've been four or five, Four or five months. Yeah. So the intention that I had when I started was we need to do something about our situation right now because we've been in a state where things keep falling back on me and also Noor from my team. So a lot of stuff. If somebody else left the company or if someone needed to jump in and do something, it was literally on me and her. And so it was really, really stressful for both of us. But I can take it because I'm an entrepreneur, right? And like, you know, my younger brother is disabled and so I'm really used to thriving in chaos. And I would say it's one of my strengths and weaknesses because I get myself in that position more often than I should because I can handle it. And so, yeah, so my biggest fear was like, I just don't want to leave, like, I do not want this girl to leave. I want her to be successful. I want her to be winning. And so I was actually at an event with Leila Hormozi and I had this conversation with Leila, and I'm like, “Hey, Leila, like, I need help with operations. What should I do? So we had a great conversation. And then she's like, You should hire Alex Charfen and join his company. They're doing some cool stuff right now and like, they've revamped everything. So I thought, “Well, if Leila says it, then it must be true.” So literally, right then I DM'd you while I was still at the event. And then we got on a call and I wanted to make sure that the decision was not only being dictated by me because Noor’s been with me for so long.
Alex: And let's just give everybody context and I don't mean to cut you off, but Noor is your operator.
Lauren: Noor’s my operator.
Alex: She's the one who day to day is helping you run the business.
Lauren: Exactly. And so she, it feels like it's been longer, but she's been with me for three years. And so she started out as a sales rep. And then she was like the manager of that sales team. And then from there she kind of came in and then eventually, you know, it just made sense for her to be in that position. But yeah, to give you context, like it's probably been four or five months, but we were able to implement the system within about three. We made it a year long project. We still have a few things that we need to get dialed in properly and I knew. But ever since then it's just meant that I've been able to actually like trust in my business because before I felt like all the trust had to be between me and Noor. So it was like people were just running everything and it was just so stressful and chaotic all the time. People would always leave. And actually the only people that have left since we started with you are people that we fired just because we didn't need them on the team anymore, because we fundamentally changed how we were running the business. So we just had, honestly like… We literally had more than ten more people on the team than we needed.
Lauren: Just because we weren't having a system to run the business, we were having people run the business. So there was all this extra management, which was actually, I've actually been able to shave off more than 60K per month on expense just because of the Simple Operations System.
Alex: And that.. is that 60K dropping in profitability?
Lauren: Oh, that was just pure coming out of profit that I could have…
Alex: $700,000 a year.
Lauren: Yeah. When you say it like that.
Alex: That's crazy isn't it. It really is. So, you know, I have to give everybody context. The shift that I see or the way that I classify that shift is you go from running business by personality to process. When you're running a business with personality, you're doing everything. You're telling people what to do. And I remember our first conversation, I was so impressed because one of the first things you told me was, I really feel like I need to protect my operator. I really feel like I need to protect Noor. And I remember you saying, like, she's so important to me and she's so amazing and I love her and she supports me like nobody's ever supported me. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth.
Lauren: Yeah, Yeah.
Alex: And when you look at installing a system like this, going from personality run for you and Noor, to process run, what is the effect been on the two of you, your relationship and you individually?
Lauren: Oh, our relationship is so much stronger now because I remember one of the first things that she posted in the group is how she was finally able to, like, go on a vacation without worrying about everything that was happening. And she was a little nervous. But then she got back and nothing had gone wrong. Everything had gone to plan. And even during that week, I hadn't even really spoken to my team much. I did the daily Huddle and the Weekly Commitments meeting, like it says in your system. But I hadn't done any crazy back and forth on Slack or anything because one of the things that Noor’s always told me is like, just don't message people on Slack, because when I do that, I have this habit of just like sending tons of messages. And so that's actually something that we've put in place a few years ago because it was just kind of stressful for everybody.
Alex: The slack bombing.
Lauren: Yeah. Oh yeah. And it’s the worst, like, if I go to an event and I get all these ideas.
Alex: it’s the worst.
Lauren: And it's like, Monday, we need to start doing this. I'm just not doing that. And one time this even happened, I was at an event and they were talking about LinkedIn automation. So I'm messaging my team. And then two weeks after that, this one guy who was pretty important tech on my team a few years ago, he actually left because I stress him out so much from all the things that I was sending. So now the difference is that with the Simple Operations System, I'm able to know with certainty what my team is actually working on all the time. Because when you're the person in the business that's like paying everyone's salary, you can sometimes build this resentment when you don't know what they're doing. At least for me, that was what was happening.
Alex: Oh, it's universal.
Lauren: And so I was always like following up with people, chasing them, checking in. Are they doing this thing? Are they working on that task? And I would have no idea because there was no visibility. And we had tried like we thought we had systems set up in Notion or ClickUp or whatever, but we kind of just had like a few supers and it wasn't organized or structured in any way. And the mistake that we were making is like we would always hear everybody say, build sops for everything, build systems for everything. Of course. And I'm such a believer, like let systems run the business and let people run their systems. However, the problem was, is that nothing was connected together and there was no planning and no prioritization. So we would work on activities and we really felt like we were getting momentum, but we were simply just moving sideways versus moving forward. And then a couple of weeks would go by and I would notice that some of the stuff that we were doing wasn't really like revenue generating at all, or clients weren't really enjoying it, but we were feeling hyped because we were speaking to the client or we were getting a lot of engagement on social, but because it wasn't making money for the business, then I would be like, “Oh my gosh, this hasn't made any sales”. So I would personally go in, that I would start messaging leads, voice, noting them, phoning them up, literally doing like the work of a sales rep. I would bring in a ton of money, like tons. And I would say…
Alex: And for context, I want everyone to understand. It's like when you say tons of money. When I met you, I was blown away by your revenue numbers. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars a month
Lauren: in the DMS.
Alex: In the DMs in a month
Alex: So you're one of those entrepreneurs that can grab a phone, sit in the corner and go make money happen.
Lauren: Or even better for me in a quiet, dark room with no sound. Just have the DMS. That’s all I need.
Lauren: So I just need the DMS like, give me this and I'm going to print money. But the problem was that I would bring in all these clients. So suddenly, like clients are paying us a lot of money paid in full wire to the bank. And the problem was, then suddenly I'd like, you know, made these bespoke promises that I told you about and it was fine and we were able to fulfill it. But the problem was that then we, they weren't going into the right structure that they needed to go through in order to get support in a more scalable way, because I'd made a bespoke deal with them because they were like a more VIP type of client. Some of these people have like a million plus subscribers on YouTube, so that's a real big potentiality to have a good long term partnership with them. So then I jump in and I do more one-on-one work with them. And so then I would be like, “Oh, screw this”. I would start self-sabotaging again because I knew if I closed somebody else for like a multiple five or even like a six figure contract, it was a lot of work for me. And so then I didn't do the sales anymore and then the business wouldn't run. So the reason I bring this up is because, like I genuinely believe that there are a lot of other people who run their business like this too. It's like, I need more money. I make a bespoke deal. Oh crap. Even though I have a team, I have to now go and fulfill on that. And so then you stop doing it. And then let's say that one client wants a refund. Like I had a few clients who came in. They weren’t a good fit. I have to refund them like 50K. That takes a big hit on the business.
Lauren: And so that's, it's thankful when you have the ability to do that type of thing. But these are symptoms of not having an operational structure in your business. And I tried other things before, like I tried out the like operations system type of thing and like it just didn't work for like a really entrepreneurial company and somebody who thinks the way that I do and runs the business fully online with team members in multiple different time zones. And so that's why I was hesitant to join because I just thought, Am I doing this thing again? What I'm trying to fit my company into like a box. And this is really what Layla said to me. She was like, “The thing about Alex and his team is like, Simple Operations won't force you to fit into, like, a really real, like, rigid structure. Instead, it's more of a structure that will adapt around your business in the way that you want to run things”. And I didn't really understand how that could be true because I had been trying to do these really specific things in the past. But when I started with you guys, it became so clear that, yeah, this literally will work for my business no matter what size we're at. And it's all around ultimately what we want to be doing rather than the system constricting us to only do very specific, weird activities that don't feel good for us.
Alex: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think, you know, you brought up two points that I just want to draw out for everybody listening. The first one is it doesn't matter how good you are at sales, you will get to a place where if a sale causes you personal pain, you will sabotage, always. You know that, right? And you live that. And I think for the people listening, like really let that land. If a sale is going to cause you pain, you won't make the sale, you will eventually procrastinate. You won't make the call, You won't show up, right? You won't, you won't be persuasive, you will be overly persuasive and things will not work out. And that selling yourself into pain is brutal. The second thing that you bring up, and I really would like you to expand on, is as a visionary entrepreneur, it's so difficult for us to take somebody else's box emptied into it. It feels like we're in somebody else's clothes, like you've got clothes on, but they don't fit and they're not feeling right and it's agitating and frustrating. And can you just share with everyone why the simple OS was so different for you? And it's not a box that you shoved yourself into. Rather, it's a system that really helped you be what you want to be and have the company you want.
Lauren: Yeah. So with the Simple Operations System, you ultimately decide what you want your company to grow. So like, what's the reason why you're in business? You call it a client centric mission. Yeah. So I thought that I had my mission dialed in, but it was more about me and my personal goals. And so when I flipped it on its head and I made it all about the clients, then I saw that my team had way more buy-in because they could see the impact that we were, that we really do make in the industry and the way that we help people. And so from there it became much, much easier for us to figure out what we want our annual goals to be, because we never did annual planning before. I didn't honestly think that annual planning would work for me. So we had tried like rocks and pebbles and all these things, and then the rock, like, turns into this, like, I don't know, some mesh piece of sand that you put in your hand and then it comes crumbling out from beneath you. And like, it just did not work for us because I just couldn't get buy-in from my team. Whereas then when we made the plan for the year, my team was so hyped up about it because now they knew that this, there's not going to be scope creep because they kept being scope creeped. It's like you roll a rope down a hill and it gets covered in mud. And this kept happening for me. It was like this repeated problem. And so then I thought, “Well, how am I going to stick to something for a year?” I didn't think I can do this. And so I was really nervous. But then you know what? Like we did the quarterly planning. And this was so amazing because we literally decided and I sat with Noor and I was like, I am not going to add anything else to this. Like, we are just going to do these things. And we actually got to the end of the course when we realized we tried to commit too much stuff because we were so used to doing that. And so now I actually look at what my team is committed to this quarter. And even in my head, I'm thinking like, ‘I think we're actually trying to do too much because I know that if we do less we do it really, really well. And also there's just way less complexity because when we actually do… Because your system is all about commit to the things that, you know, you're going to be able to get done. Do them really, really well. Do them at a high standard, get them finished to its entirety, because then your team sees themselves as winners. And my team had seen themselves as losers for so long because we would hit our revenue goals, because I would come in and save the day, like I imagine myself putting on a cloak and swiping in and like coming in to make the money so that everyone feels happy and hyped and excited. But that was literally me building for myself like a leveraged job. And I knew that I didn't want that. I didn't want the company to be fully dependent on me, but I couldn't see a world in which I could actually replace myself. However, now maybe you will be unhappy with me for this, but on Friday I couldn't make the monthly Commitments meeting. Okay.
Alex: The process is there so that you don't have to be, Lauren.
Lauren: Exactly. So it was. It was great because then I can't lie, I actually prefer this. But I'm not going to make this my thing that I do. I will go to it next time. But like, Noor, just sent me a little video after explaining what had been, what I've done, and because of that, everything had been done perfectly. And they actually committed to what I thought was more than should have been done. So I just sent back some feedback and we got rid of one of the projects and now actually everyone's clear on what they need to do. And obviously I'm here right now and I know that everything's moving forward because every single week we then do our weekly commitments. We look at what got done the week before and it's amazing because way more stuff than I ever thought was even getting done is actually now getting done. Whereas before it was the other way around. Before I used to have a list of things in my head, like literally in my head or a pen and paper where I'd wake up in the middle of the night. I would write down on a pen and paper, okay, Clinton needs to do this. Okay? Anthony needs to do that. Oh, crap. We had this one client request from three weeks ago, so we need to do, And I would literally have it on this pen and paper. I would take a photo, I would send it to Noor. Noor then puts it into our project management system, make sure that it gets done by checking in on them multiple times a day. Hey, did you do that? Did you do that? It was so stressful for her and for me. As I said, it wasn't too bad because I was used to it. But now I actually have a ton of free time and it's really nice because I'm able to focus on projects that are actually scaling the business. Like I spent all day yesterday building a webinar and I haven't been able to do that for literally months because all the time I've been like in the DMs or I'd been checking in on or to make sure that who's my operator, to make sure that she's checking in on everyone else. And now instead of us just scrambling all the time, we're actually working on projects that are driving us forward and that's a really nice place to be.
Alex: Lauren, you have this extraordinary capacity and ability to understand why you change behavior and then the effect that it's had on you. And so earlier you mentioned that you'd go to an event and you get excited and there was all this stuff that had to happen right now. And one of the things I talk to entrepreneurs about all the time is that delayed gratification is a skill set of 100 millionaires and billionaires, and instant gratification is a skill set of children.
Lauren: Like, it's so true.
Alex: It really is, you know, and if you look at it, children need instant gratification. If a little baby is hungry, you need to feed it, right? Then, as adults, if we're hungry, we can say, ‘Hey, I can pause for a moment here and I can be okay’. So the more instant gratification you need, the more immature your desires become. And so can you explain how it is now for you to go to event, get a whole bunch of ideas? What do you do now? Like, do you feel restless? Do you feel agitated? Do you feel like, ‘How is it that you can do that without coming back and instantly having to give it all to your team?’
Lauren: I honestly want less ideas. Like I literally now, when I hear someone trying to sell me on why I need to do something, I'm really, really, really resistant because I know that they're selling me something. So for example, like I always used to see these ads about like you need to have a sales team and so you need to have setters and closers and a sales manager and do outbound and all of this stuff. And then I obviously did that right. And then I realized after managing the sales team, it was just energetically draining the life out of me like I was spending two or 3 hours a day talking to the sales manager and going back and forth on specific leads, and obviously it should have been their responsibility to coach and train the refs on, you know, But I was onboarding them, so I needed the support and help. And then I thought, you know what, like this is kind of interesting. I'm right now making less revenue than when I was just doing sales myself. So I'm clearly onboarding the sales manager role. What's wrong with my system as to why this is happening? So then I looked at the process and I just thought, ‘Huh, I actually think that I don't like having a sales team’. I think I love marketing. I love marketing way more than I love having a sales team. So maybe I don't need a sales team. And I noticed that you didn't have this giant team of sales reps. And I remember hearing a podcast of yours one time because like I told you, I legit listened to all of them where you said that your coaches were your sales people and this is even a few years ago before you had the same people that you have on your team now. And so I remember like running that binder, and she really liked the idea because even though she started as a sales rep, she was actually my client before that and I just kind of poached her from being my client to be in sales, even though she never wanted to do that. So I was like, ‘Huh, maybe I'm just doing this all wrong’. And maybe the reason why I want a sales team so bad is because all the people who have massive revenue have massive sales teams. And I thought, you know what? The people have massive revenue like multiple, multiple millions every single month. Most of them do not have the lifestyle that I want. Most of them are working at least 12 to 16 hours a day. Maybe they don't have a super healthy relationship because I, you know, I know some of these people and obviously some of them are great and some of them are amazing, But I'm just speaking generally. And that's when I realized, huh, Yeah. All the ones that are having the ad sing have a sales team, obviously selling a product about that. So now I always think if someone speaking at an event about a specific topic, most likely they sell a product about that thing so that that to promote it and cause they're not talking to that own audience they are there to educate the audience on the topic so that then you get it in your mind that you need this potential solution. And then from there, you know, you get into the sales cycle. But also I realize like now every time I go to these events, I don't go with the same reason, which is to get hyped up and excited about it. I go there just to make genuine connections, you know, and to make friends and have a good time and to learn and then to also put things into potential consideration. Because if it's not a priority like a solution that my company needs right now, then why am I going to do it? Just because it sounds like a cool tactic, kind of cool strategy. So now I actually kind of just fear new ideas because I just don't want things to shake the boat because it's so stable. And I think before the boat was so shaky all the time that adding something else felt like it could potentially stabilize it. Whereas now, because of the Simple Operations System, the business is stable. And I know and I'm very clear on what we need to do, I'm super clear and like I don't even have any, I'm not even shakeable, as it were. Like if someone gives me an idea, it doesn't. I listen and I'm like, “That sounds cool”, but I don't feel like I need to do it because I already know what I'm doing. And whereas before, I didn't know what I was doing because I was always acting day by day or week by week. Whereas now, because we have our plans for the year, it's like someone can tell me anything and I'm not changing my plan because I know that this is the right thing to do.
Alex: Hmm. That is so awesome. And it's, just for everybody listening, it usually takes entrepreneurs multiple quarters with us to come to that realization. You did this quickly, like, that's what I said in the introduction. That's why I said you have this incredible capacity. So because you have that capacity and this ability to see and interpret what's happening. Can you share with the entrepreneur who's listening to this, who is feeling overwhelmed, they feel like they're the biggest bottleneck and they feel like they're doing so much, they don't have time to get help. They feel like there's things that they have to do in the business and they're overwhelmed by them. What will it do for them to put an operating system in place and release those feelings? Like what has it done for you?
Lauren: Well, the easiest way for me to answer this is probably the things that it didn't do for me, right? Because I think the concerns that people have is that it's going to make you drop your revenue. It's going to mean that you don't get anything done, etc.. So when you put the S.O.S. in place, it will not lower your revenue. It will only lower your revenue if you make an intentional decision to do an activity that lowers your revenue. For example, like for me personally, I chose to lower my revenue because I needed to be sure that the system actually worked. And I knew that if I would come in and save the day and make more sales, then I couldn't see what is actually making the difference here because I'm going back in with my old habits producing money for the company outside of the system because I didn't put it within my responsibilities on the system that I am going to come in and make a ton of money for the business. Now, one of the things that you said to me that really changed everything for me is Lauren, as the founder of the company, you choose your job. So I had this like thing in my head and to be fair, like. This is the main reason. Like Leila told me, Lauren, you need to work with simple operations because, like, you have this fixed idea, like, she kept telling me, you have this fixed idea of how your company needs to run. Like I told you, because all those other systems try to put you in this box. So you said to me you were like, as the founder of the business, you choose your responsibilities, you choose what you do and you don't do. And I realized in that moment that I had such a guilt complex around forcing in my head. You see the words I use, right? That's such a projection, like in getting my team to do things. And I then thought that I should take these responsibilities on because other people don't want to do that. But it wasn't that they didn't want to do them. It's just that their job that they had come into the company for was one thing, and obviously they didn't want a totally different responsibility put onto their plate because it just wasn't what they were meant to be doing. So what we were able to do is we were able to shift around people's roles like you call it 4R. So that job description essentially so that everyone was very clear on their role and the scope and things that I was before doing was now put into their job descriptions or we hired new different people. And so it didn't cause us to slow down at all. Actually, it allowed us to just have so much clarity, like everybody in the company is clear on what they need to do. Whereas before it was just this constant feeling of like, am I winning right now? Because they didn't know, because generally the company wasn't winning. Like if you would look at all the metrics.
Alex: You were winning, the company wasn't.
Lauren: Exactly. Yeah. And like in a way it felt nice because like, I knew no matter what, like I can make money online and I'm good, but at the same time I didn't have the stable infrastructure that I needed for my business to get to where I want it to be. And then, as you said, I was always feeling like the biggest bottleneck. And so if somebody wants to keep feeling like the biggest bottleneck and if they want to keep living in chaos and if they know and I honestly I think that those are probably symptoms that, like you need to do some real work because it feels nice to be needed. But at the same time, if you want to be able to have a freedom where you actually can go and do things where your business is running, and it's that thing where everyone always says break free from the day to day. It's like, well, if you want to eventually break free from the day to day, you need a system in place. And I think that a lot of entrepreneurs, they say they want to break free from day to day, but they just want to break free from the things that are keeping them stuck, doing stuff that drains their soul that they hate with a team that frustrates them, who are constantly just dragging them and causing them absolute stress and mayhem in their lives. Because the team members are not doing that because they're bad people. They're doing it because, as you said to me, they don't have clear roles and responsibilities, etcetera, to allow them to thrive. And so I think, yeah, like if somebody actually wants to eventually break free, they have the system in place. But then once you get to the point where you do have the system in place, you probably don't want to be free from the day to day because you're actually doing things that let you open, that you enjoy.
Alex: Yeah, yeah. And the day to day is painful anymore, not painful.
Lauren: And it's also enjoyable because when you see your team winning is a really nice place to be like. I genuinely love everyone on my team right now and I really enjoy working with all of them. Whereas before I had some people that I was resenting because I didn't feel like they were ever getting stuff done. And so as I told you, like we let go of a lot of people because we didn't need them any more once we had the system. So like, would you rather spend an extra like, you know, for me it was like 60 grand a month on paying people you don't need. Or would you rather spend a few months actually getting a system in place that can eventually allow your business to be super stable? I mean, it's a clear, easy decision. And I think the reason why I was so hesitant towards it is just because, like, I was just feeling so jaded from so many other ways of running the business. And I just thought, well, I just don't know if any of it actually works. But clearly it really, really does work. And yeah, it's just so nice feeling like my business can actually run without me driving everything.
Alex: Yeah, I think you bring up such a good point that when we don't have. So I always tell entrepreneurs, when you have a lack of clarity on your team, you will have competition and chaos and a lot of conflict. When you have clarity on your team, you have this level of cooperation and communication where everybody on the team gets better at what they do. Have you seen that in your team? Like the reflection of look in that you've kind of said a little bit of that before when you said you had people you resented. But for the people who are on the team now, have you seen them grow and develop now that they have clarity?
Lauren: Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, my team like, are collaborating all the time and getting on calls together, getting on calls together to problem solve things. And there are like these projects going on that I don't even know about, like, I don't even know how, not know that I don't know that that is going on. I know that they're happening, but I don't know what it is or how to do it. Whereas before I would have been the one to figure out the solution. Okay, we need to put all these Google Analytics in place. And that was even a blind spot to me because I've grown my business on social. So now we're starting ads and we're going to be going down that direction for our marketing. And so I never would have even thought that we need to set up all this tracking. And so if I was continuing to drive things forward like I did before as the founder, then we would have started to run all these ads and we would have had no proper attribution or anything because I'd never told anyone to do it. Whereas now instead they decide it for themselves based upon my roles and responsibility, then we need to actually set this up this month. So then the following month we can actually turn the ads on and get everything going. And then the tech guy who's collaborating with the marketing guy, they are working on this like, you know, you call it like an OTA. So they have shared responsibilities within that one thing. So now they're collaborating to get that thing done. And I personally have no idea what any of that stuff means. So it's really amazing because now I know that they're going to be able to give me data. And so they've even, I let them know like, okay, I'm trusting you guys to get this done. Just make sure, like I can see if the ads are winning, right? And so now they're even building for me, like specifically a dashboard that I can understand without being a super technical person when it comes to attribution and stuff. So that's really cool because things that were outside of my awareness now are getting done in the business that if I was continuing to run the business without the SOS, then I never could have potentially even seen that that was needed.
Alex: You just brought up such a great point. I want to wrap up with this question. So one of the things that I share with entrepreneurs all the time is that until you have shared decision making, you will not have a company that reaches its full potential. And what I mean by that is so many of us as visionaries, as entrepreneurs, as the owners of the business, we feel like we have to do exactly what you said. We have to figure out what's needed, figure out how to do it, tell the people how to do it, and then make sure that it gets done right. And when I say you have to have shared decision making, here's what happens. Join a lot of entrepreneurs almost immediately get so uncomfortable that they can't even think about it. They're like, I'm not gonna let anybody else make decisions in my business. No way. There's no one in the business that can make decisions but me. You very quickly picked up on the capacity expansion, the cost that comes through shared decision making. So can you just speak a little bit about maybe, I don't know if you had insecurities about that before, about letting people make decisions and how has that shifted for you and what is that created as a possibility for you?
Lauren: I think so many entrepreneurs are just so knackered to be honest. They're so tired and so used to always making all the decisions that it's become normal for them.
Alex: Yeah, we normalize pain.
Lauren: Yeah. And extreme stress, anxiety, frustration. And I think I was just at a point where, like, I just didn't care anymore to be the one to make the decisions. Like, I was just dreaming that somebody else could come in and actually take some leadership in my company other than me because I was just tired, you know, I was just like really tired of doing things that were making me so just like, frustrated, like to the point where I knew my best use of time is I'm so good at marketing, like, not like ads, but like storytelling, connecting with my audience. Like, I'm really, really, really good at that. And I began to see it like every hour that I'm spending on things outside of my zone of genius, I am literally costing the company money because when I do that one thing, I am able to create such an incredible result that, yes, eventually entrepreneurs. I now have a guy on my team who is just as good as me, so that's really cool. But like this is my greatest contribution, as you would say on the other side of things, I just, I was feeling constantly like if I don't take the ownership of everything, then nothing gets done. And I knew something needed to change because I was just at this point where, yeah, like I was just I was frustrated. I was tired. I think I had just been not feeling very well and I was just like, You know what? Enough is enough. Like, I need, I just need to do something about this. And so it was like this. Maybe I don't really want to call it like a rock bottom moment, but I think it's just the pressure that I was facing because I'm also making a lot of content on social media, having to also show up on social media all the time. And then there's obviously people in the world who want to take advantage of you when you have an audience or when people see that you have a successful business. That plus, then also having to make every decision in the business, plus then also having to run the team like it was just becoming too much for me. So I knew. I knew that it had to change. But the reason why it was too much for me is obviously like if I'm trying to literally control what… At one point in my time I had 47 people on my team. And you're trying to know every single job, step by step, every hour, by every day. I wanted to know what is, what are they doing? I was even going to put screen monitors.
Alex: Oh, come on. I'm so glad we've found each other.
Lauren: I know. I wasn't sure you can do that. And no wonder people were leaving, right? Yeah, but it wasn't even that it was a hard place to work. It's just that no one had any direction because I physically didn't have the energy to give it to them anymore. Like, I just. I was just tired. Yeah, that was the best way to describe it. But again, I had normalized it and I made it very intentional that like, I want to hang around with other entrepreneurs. So all of my friends are entrepreneurs. Like literally all of my friends, like I don't have any friends, like, have a normal job. And so they were all feeling the same way all the time. So I just thought it was normal to be like that. And I literally didn't have a period for like more than five years because I was always hustling. And so I was running my business in a way that was basically unsustainable for my body because I would wake up in the morning. I would walk for like 30 minutes to go to the gym. I would walk out and destroy myself just to get rid of my stress. I would walk back. I wouldn't have eaten yet because I wanted to just be as fast as possible. I would then eat some food and then like I would have cookies of my team because I was in Dubai. So I had like this massive morning where I could just have it all to myself. And then I would just be so frustrated all the time because my hormones were all out of whack. And then the way that I was running my business was all out of whack. And I think that as a business owner, your company is a direct, direct reflection of you. So as soon as I began, like healing my body, treating my body properly, then I realized how tired I had been from running my business. And that's when I realized something needed to change because I was not going to allow myself to treat myself so badly anymore. And so I had to change my business.
Alex: So we've covered a ton of ground. Is there anything else that you feel like you want to share with the Momentum Podcast audience, which you were a member of?
Lauren: Yeah, I know. I know.
Alex: You can empathetically put yourself in that audience. Is there anything else you think they need to hear?
Lauren: So I think some of the things that I've got from working with you guys is very different than I had expected because I really thought that the Simple Operations System was going to be mainly for my team. And that was the reason why I joined in the first place, is because I wanted my team to have the system so that the business could run. And obviously, of course, that would help me as a business owner. But actually, from being in and being a founder like inside with the community element, this is like for me being so helpful because I think it's made me realize that like a lot of the things that I thought were weird about me as in, like problems that I was having. Like, things that would happen and then I would just like, react with this huge, like, stress response to the point where it felt like the whole world is like crumbling down and realizing that actually, you know, these things as a founder of really, really normal and just you being there and your team being so present to support you and guide you through those challenging things has been so, so valuable to me. Like even that on its own, even without the system, would have made the investment like, well worth it. But I think obviously the system as well, like the way the business is running, allows me to actually finally see a lot of my problems more clearly and realize that they aren't as big of a deal as they would have felt if that one small problem happened in the midst of the chaos that the business was already running it. So I think like, yeah, as a founder, this has been having that support system and I've obviously had coaches and stuff before, but you and your team really understand me and they really understand all the other founders. And I think that that's actually quite rare because I think oftentimes and like I'm in the coaching industry and so this is like the space where I play all the time. But when I've had coaches and this is obviously a big pet peeve for me because this is my space, because it's who you are. Yeah, but like when I've had coaches, like I felt like they had wanted to mold my business in some way, tell me exactly how to run things. Whereas you guys, you'll challenge my ideas for sure. Because, like, sometimes I have goals that are, like, ridiculous or I have, you know, problems that are not even problems, and you'll be very serious about it. And you may even bring more severity to the challenge than I even thought that it was. You know, I may have thought that it was a small thing. You actually see it as a big thing because you've had so much experience. And so that's been one thing. And then the second thing is that after working with you guys, the benefit that has had for my operator has been incredible. And so there are a lot of people who have a team, but then it's just them and they're like running everything. I think first of all, making sure that they have that person. And by the way, I actually had a sales call with your team when I was like 20 and like, I was like, Yeah, like I love Alex's podcast, but like, I don't have an operator or I had like a guy who was an operator, but I was trying to fire him, you know, he sucked and he was like, definitely not like an operator. He's the type of person. And so the reason I didn't join then actually was because I was worried about that and I think back then you guys were mainly working with bigger businesses. So to be fair, while like revenue wise, we probably would have been five infrastructure wise, we definitely wouldn't have been. And so that's why I didn't join. But I actually think that now you work with a lot of people who need to get that operator. So like, I think that you can also support people in finding the operator now. Sure. Yeah. So I think like because I already had someone, I needed to scale her up and she said that it's been so helpful being in a community of other operators. So I know that was kind of long winded, but ultimately, as a business owner, it is 100% your responsibility to make sure that your team has the support that they need to win. And so if you're just thinking about yourself, who your coach should be, what mastermind you should join because it's going to be good for you. Actually, like as business owners, we get access to that in an unlimited way. And oftentimes like a ton of those events and stuff is free. Yeah, right. So the support that you really need is for your team. And so through working with you guys, I've been able to get that and it's also helped me too. So that was nice.
Alex: So awesome. Lauren, thank you so much for today. Thank you. And if you are running a business and you feel like you're the biggest bottleneck and you know your business could be doing more and you want it, you either have an operator or you want to find an operator that can help you really take things to the next level and buy more time and space for yourself and just as importantly, be in a community with other incredible entrepreneurs like Lauren, where you're masterminding and brainstorming and seeing how business can really be run. Go to simpleoperations.com. Sign up for a call with my team. We'd love to talk to you and we'd love to see you at our next event.